Our colleagues in Vienna from the SoundFrame Festival, Eva Fischer and Florian Tanzer (of Luna.Luanisch) will be hosting a Modul8 centric VJ workshop at MUMOK (stands for Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung ludwig Wien).
Here is a sample of Florian’s work, a documentation of their previous workshop at the same location:
The related facebook event page is in German only, so I suspect that is the language that will be used for the workshop, although I am sure if you showed up they would be happy to accommodate you if English is your only language.
Along with the expansion of the Modul8 community, comes the valuable support of artists who see the benefit of the immediacy of the tool in situations where one does not want to spend a lot of time messing around with the software to achieve their creative vision.
One example is my friend Bego of the Nino Viejo collective. She has spent this spring and part of this summer working in Prague, teaching students how to use Modul8 as part of a tool set in integrating projections of drawings and animations into films or placing projections inside the environment so that there is a more intimate experience with the projected material as opposed to the projected image always living within the boundaries of the projection screen. See the image above as a prime example of both.
The Czech republic has always had a rich tradition of animation, particularly stop motion animation. The video below is documentation of the activities that unfolded the past months at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. While the footage including Modul8 is almost at the end it is worth looking through the student projects. We can see the roots of a new generation that is finding ways to communicate ideas with any means and materials that are available be it digital or painting on walls or the body.
Only a few hours train ride brings us to Vienna. Considered by some to be the VJ capital of the world, the artist Florian Luanisch created a rather poetic document of a Modul8 workshop he did during the last edition Sound:Frame festival.
What is so important about Vienna and VJing? “Capital of VJing?!” I asked myself these questions as well when first hearing them from a friend a few months ago. A clearer picture of the answer came from meeting the documentary film maker Frederick Baker at the 2010 edition of the c/o Pop conference in Cologne, Germany. His book “The Art of Projectionism” provides a multi-faceted view of what it is that we are doing with this medium.
As I had suspected there is a generous gap between east and west when it comes to common knowledge about the VJ world, as I discovered that Frederick had little knowledge of any of the individuals who were invited to the Wiki-Sprint that was conducted at the last edition of the Mapping Festival. This VJ Wiki-Sprint was initiated by the Mapping Festival in order to improve a much needed overhaul of the VJ page on Wikipedia that appeared to be stuck somewhere in 1998. The VJ Wiki-Sprint team consisted of a series of individuals from Europe and America who saw the value in championing this medium. Manuel Schmalstieg (aka N3krosoft), Ana Carvalho (of VJ Theory), Tom Bassford (aka SleepyTom), Carrie Gates, Raphael DiLuzio and Carole Thibaud (combined with a host of others who communicated via the interweb) gathered together in a small room that was part of the Mapping Festival downtown office to put their minds and hearts together to bring things up to date. As is it turns out there are enough references now to construct a solid narrative that brought us to where we are today that the collective criticism of the Wikipedia world can no longer dispute.
Nevertheless, for the moment Mr. Bakers “The Art of Projectionism” is not included as a reference on this page. But give how much progress was made during the VJ WikiSprint (and the fact that I am writing this post) I am sure it will not be long before it is.
How can we shorten the gaps between us? For starters, if you are located in western Europe I would encourage you to take some time off and attend the upcoming VJ/DJ playground in Austria that is set for August 5th through the 8th. Sadly, I will not be able to make it this year due to a much overdue vacation. But it should not prevent you from attending, sharing and learning.
We are mid way through this modul8/mapping (not festival) workshop at Soundframe (festival). We started out with a very inspirational speech/discussion about mapping, its history and its possible implications for the present and the future. We then spent a good hour standing around boxes and arranging them in ways that were meaningful for the entire group.
When all of the boxes were clearly and comfortably within each of the three projectors I did a short demonstration using one of the projectors, of how to map videos to the faces of the boxes using the perspective transform module. Then I asked the class to form into into three groups for each projector. It was felt that a 4th projector was needed and as there were more available(!) this was done.
We are about to start the critiquing phase. We will all stand around the boxes and discuss what it is that we have done, where we can improve it etc.
It seems like yesterday. I am again in Vienna for the SoundFrame festival. We have been pretty busy lately so I have not been very tight with workshop date and time announcements. These people like marathon workshops. This one will be hosted at the Media Quarter Marx at Maria Jacobi Gasse 2 and will start at 13h00 through 20h00, as proposed. Sad to miss out on the Electron Festival this year but I guess I could use a break. I am here as part of an exchange the Mapping Festival is doing with Sound:Frame this year. Appropriate since their focus this year is mapping projections via the title ‘Dimensions’, and the Mapping focus this year pure debauchery.
The photo above is next to the Kunsthalle near Karl Platz. It is a few steps away from last years festival head quarters, behind this wall it goes down a bit with steps and is next to the entrance to the U-bahn station. So this years theme is not just mapping but also a touch of the underground. I am into it.
Firstly we are now almost a week away from the beginning of the 2009 edition of the Mapping VJ Festival. The site has launched, the schedule is up! 10 days of VJing, clubbing, performances, workshops, talks, installations and outdoor projections on the facades of several major historical buildings in Geneva, Switzerland. While I am very satisfied with the overall program that the Mapping team, of which I am a member, have come up with I do have my favorites.
In particular are the visual antics of Sans Culotte coupled with the Breakcore mashing sounds of Electric Kettle. In general this night is dedicated to the offbeat with acts Xerac and Mec. Not for everyone. Sometimes we curate for ourselves. I think we deserve it.
I will be documenting the festival video wise. It is probably the best way for someone who is involved with the festival to actually see everything.
Now to back track a little the weekend before last I was jumping around from town to town doing modul8 workshops. Somewhere along the way I saw some things of interest. Firstly there was the Sound:Frame festival. The festival itself lasts a month. The exhibition of the festival took place at the Kunsthalle located almost square in the center of Vienna. Events don’t take place every day of the festival. Each weekend was devoted to either parties, a/v performances and workshops with the exhibition in the Kunsthalle open to the public for the entire month.
The exhibition itself was quite impressive comprising of installations that revolved around the theme of audio visual culture in its myriad forms. Surprisingly for me there were also some drawings and paintings that pointed to a desire for audio visual festivals to become more inclusive further blurring the lines between art, performance, commerce and VJing’s common trappings of the night club. There were some new works and quite a few familiar ones, especially in the screening areas, of Pfadfenderei, Luma Luanisch, 4youreye and V-atak, all veterans of the Mapping Festival.
As I was mainly at Sound:Frame to conduct a workshop and the weekend consisted mainly of workshops I sadly did not see much VJing. I was however very pleased to have been present for a performance by Claudia Rohrmoser & Ritornell. The performance took place inside Claudias installation in the Kunsthalle. Three projections of the same image. For the performance that was accompanied by the experimental music group Ritornell Claudia used modul8 in combination with a wacom tablet and a Lemur. Her imagery of dripping colors and dancing lines over filmic like washes of color was painterly and somewhat reminiscent of the work of Stan Brakhage. The lines and washes complimented the carefully improvised sounds of Ritornell.
The following day was the workshop. After a group announcement and introduction with all the participants and workshop hosts that included a variety of disciplines we all entered our assigned rooms and roles. The workshops took place at a facility called wienXtra-mediazentrum. Very nicely furnished and equipped I had an embedded VGA cable and a sound system. The class was filled (the maximum allowed registrants was 20 people) and I preceded with six hours of an in depth tour of modul8 rounding up in the last 45 minutes with, with the help of Florian of Luanisch, a quick and simple TripleHead2go setup.
There is no rest. In the morning early on the train to Brno via Breclav. The Multi-Place Festival is aptly named. Events, workshops, parties took place in Czek, Slovakia and Poland. From what I can gather its activities functioned in a decentralized manner. If someone somewhere had an idea and wanted to proactive it was brought into the fold and posted to the multi-place web site. Lena, a high energy person quickly escorted me to the arts school in Brno while also explaining to me life in Brno and how the Apple authorized reseller in Brno was glad to provide some support for the festival. It was still a bit early for the workshop so a small group of us gathered in the cafe next to the school, six or seven of us talking, about our respective endeavors and exchanging stickers.
Our workshop took place in a small room on the top floor of the school building. Lena improvised some blinds with a black cloth and a large piece of white foam core for a screen and away we went.
Back in Vienna that evening I was invited to VJ at a party at place called Ragnarhof. A former factory now an arts space where my hosts, the Do.Phunk party have their monthly soirees. This particular party consisted of the Do.Phunk crew but was actually a birthday party for one of their friends. And it was quite a party. Sharing the beamers with me that night was the designer and VJ Sito. With all of the videos I get to see as part of the Mapping Team, who does what can get a bit fuzzy so I was a bit embarrassed when I realized that we had actually selected him for the DubStep night for the Mapping Festival this year.
As I was watching Sito VJ I then remembered one of the main reasons we selected him. He has an extraordinary sense of how to use the particles in modul8 by creating clusters of his iconography and crowding them together into different compositions. I thought myself very lucky to be able to see a VJs work live before their performance at the Mapping. While documentation definitely helps, and we are seeing a lot more of that these days, there is nothing like the experience of the energy, the music, the audience. I am really looking forward to seeing him light up the Zoo.